2016 Anne Boleyn Files Advent Calendar

December 17: Good Husbandry

Boar Head

Thomas Tusser (1524-1580), the English poet and farmer, wrote this poem and shared it in his book Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry.

Good husband and huswife now cheefly be glad,
things handsom to have, as they ought to be had;
They both doo provide against Christmas doo come,
to welcome good neighbour, good cheere to have some.

Good bread and good drinke, a good fier in the hall,
brawne, pudding and souse, and good mustard withall.

Beef, mutton, and porke, shred pies of the best,
pig, veale, goose and capon, and turkey well drest;
Cheese, apples and nuts, ioly Carols to heare,
as then in the countrie is counted good cheare.

What cost to good husband is any of this?
good household provision onely it is.
Of other the like, I doo leave out a menie,
that costeth the husbandman never a penie.

This poem is a wonderful source as it tells us some of the foods that were enjoyed at Christmas time in the Tudor period - brawn (boar), pudding (not desserts, but like sausages), souse (pickled pig's feet and ears), mustard, beef, mutton, pork, shred pies (mince pies), veal, capon, turkey, cheese, apples and nuts.